Christiana Afia Yeboah’s story has made the rounds back in 2019 when the media picked up her story as a working student and riding an Angkas on her way to graduation. Afia has graduated with a BS Geodetics degree from the University of the Philippines, cum laude.

Afia is briefly trading her engineering hat for high heels and makeup to try pageantry. For our first Miss Universe Philippines profile, we ask Afia via email about insecurities she had to overcome, her love for sinigang, and the memory she’ll never forget.

Qrown: What particular insecurities did you have to overcome before deciding to join the pageant?

Afia: This is not insecurity but fear. I was afraid that this pageant might destabilize my mental health. I am aware that exposing myself to the public through this will also open me to criticisms and although I love receiving criticisms for self-improvement, I was afraid that people might get out of hand and reach the point of being discriminating. I know I have to protect my mental state so I had to set my mindset straight before joining MUP.

Qrown: Given the evolving concept of beauty, what does beauty mean for you?

Afia: Beauty is the confidence that one exudes. This is what I aim for women, even myself, to see. I want them to realize that beauty is not being fair or being skinny. It is an innate feeling that whatever you look like, no one can shake your self-confidence in feeling beautiful. 

Qrown: If you were given the power of an element – earth, air, water, or fire, which would you choose and why?

Afia: Water. Once when I was still in college, I took a course about marine science and that course made me realize the power that the waters in the ocean hides. This is why I always seem to be drawn by it. I want to adapt its mysterious yet powerful aura.

Qrown: What is the one memory you cherish the most growing up?

Afia: The memory of my mom dying in front of me. It used to be something that I was really terrified of, and sometimes, it still is but the pandemic made me realize how lucky I was to actually have that memory. I am thankful that in her last breath, I was right there on her bed, holding her hand. Although I regret not saying how much I loved her, I dedicated myself to showing it to her by taking care of myself as she would have wanted me to do.

Qrown: What is one food you will always keep going back to eating?

Afia: Sinigang. I super like sinigang, from how it tastes to all the veggies in it up to its variations as well. Every time I go home to my dearest tita, she prepares it for me especially at times when she knows I’m stressed. 

Qrown: In these crazy times, how have you been able to see the humor despite situations that are not laughable?

Afia: I am not a humorous person, to begin with. I like to laugh but I am not the joker in my circle. I am the crybaby. And that is what I do when situations get rough, I cry. But contrary to what people believe in, I associate crying with strength. I began to accept that sometimes, there are situations that I’ll have to cry in order to feel stronger and that is very much ok. I don’t have to force myself to laugh at all times because I don’t want to be superficial.

Qrown: From being pretty and waving and sashaying onstage, what is your definition of a beauty queen?

Afia: A queen is someone whose principle is geared towards the betterment of the people she represents. She understands that there are differences among them but she knows how to reconcile those differences. A queen is someone who is approachable and knows how to listen but at the same time firm with what she believes in. She has pure intentions and it shows in her words and actions. 

About The Author Alexa Villano